Pennsylvania mine workers may face multiple risks of serious workplace accidents and injuries. Mining is physical work that takes place in confined, underground spaces, and an injury can have catastrophic effects. While the risk of an equipment injury or even collapse may seem obvious, fires also pose a serious danger to miners on the job. Mining makes use of heavy, electrical equipment that may spark, while toxic or flammable gases may be found underground. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration issues regulations that aim to protect workers’ safety, especially in a potentially dangerous environment like an underground mine.
In order to meet federal standards, mine operators must provide appropriate ventilation, training and protective equipment that can mitigate or prevent the risk of fire. Workers must have the training to handle and assess situations that could lead to dangerous underground fires and explosions, such as detecting the presence of methane gas. In addition, workers also often need training on escape routes to use in the case of a catastrophic incident. Personal protective equipment can play a key role in minimizing or preventing injuries and even saving lives.
Ventilation may be one of the biggest safety challenges for the mining industry. There are various options that can minimize risk, including ventilation on demand, which can redirect clean air to the areas currently occupied by workers. After all, the equipment used in mining can itself carry toxic gases from one area of the mine to another, such as conveyor belts used to carry mine equipment and products.
Workers in the mining industry may face serious risks of workplace accidents and toxic exposure, and if they are injured, they could lose time away from the job. A workers’ compensation attorney may help injured miners to protect their rights and seek the benefits they need.